The Future of U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation
by Shai Feldman
Washington, D.C.: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1996. 72 pp. $16.95 (paper).
Reviewed by Steven L. Spiegel
Middle East Quarterly
The author, a noted Israeli analyst of Middle East strategic affairs, has written the most comprehensive and penetrating review available of his topic; and it makes for a fine addition to the Washington Institute's well-reputed series. Feldman describes the past evolution of U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation and how it grew in the aftermath of the October 1991 Madrid conference. He considers a large number of possible enhancements; an increased Israeli contribution to U.S. activities in the Persian Gulf, "triangular cooperation" with third parties (such as Turkey), and increased pre-positioning of U.S. arms and ammunition in Israel. He also considers cooperation against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (including the deployment and effective functioning of an Anti-Technical Ballistic Missile System) and greater U.S.-Israel defense industrial cooperation.
Feldman's review of the costs and benefits of five alternative political frameworks is of particular interest: a formal U.S.-Israel defense pact, a "super" Memorandum of Agreement, Israel's incorporation into NATO, a NATO for the Middle East, or the expansion of existing frameworks. Feldman rightly chooses the last option, with its emphasis on practical rather than formal steps. In a region where the unpredictable is the norm, the United States and Israel are both better off without a formal defense pact.
Related Topics: Israel & Zionism, Strategic alliances, US policy | Steven L. Spiegel | March 1997 MEQ
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